Personal Injury Lawyer
The main goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to restore the injured party back to the state in which they were before the accident occurred. The concept of “making a plaintiff whole” is usually achieved through financial compensation for the damages suffered. Damages are broken down into several categories including Special Compensatory Damages, General Compensatory Damages, Wrongful Death Damages and Punitive Damages. The damages you can seek in your personal injury lawsuit depend heavily on the type of injury and the circumstances of your case.
Special Compensatory Damages- These are damages that you are generally most familiar with in a personal injury lawsuit. Special compensatory damages include medical bills, lost wages, loss of future income, cost of future medical care, personal property damage and any other out of pocket expenses as a result of the accident. These damages are called “special” because the amounts vary based on each case and are unique to each plaintiff. These damages are tangible and easily calculated through gathering bills, receipts, and any other documentation you may have showing the losses you sustained as a result of the accident.
General Compensatory Damages– The damages that fall under this category include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of quality of life and loss of consortium. These damages are considered general because it is believed that all personal injury victims are expected to suffer from some of these issues. These damages are non-monetary and can be more difficult to measure than special damages.
Wrongful Death Damages- In the event that a person is killed in an accident, the surviving family can seek wrongful death damages in addition to special and general damages. Funeral and burial costs, loss of financial contribution, and pre-death medical care are all damages that fall under the wrongful death category.
Punitive Damages- Punitive damages are not meant to make the plaintiff whole as the other three categories do. Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the defendant if it can be proven that their wrongful behavior was intentional or gross negligence. Punitive damages also help deter similar behavior in the future. These damages are rarely awarded and are heavily regulated by individual state laws.
If you believe that you are entitled to recover damages as a result of an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you are going to file a claim, you want to be sure that you will recover all damages suffered as a result of the accident. An experienced lawyer will guide you through the personal injury lawsuit process and insure that you receive all damages to which you are entitled.